Brendan Fraser


  1. Alex Winter, Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure, 1988.  Producer Scott Kroopf ran into an Italian brick wall when trying to interest iconic producer Dino De Laurentiis in the project. “He didn’t understand what dudes were until someone said: guys who had big dicks. Then he said ‘Oh, great, now I get it.'” Herek whittled down 200-300 actors to 24 for the time-travellers meeting Beethoven, Billy The Kid, Freud, Lincoln, Napoleon, Socrates.  “Everyone was auditioning for both roles,” Reeves told Hollywood Reporter 30 years later.  At one time it looked as if the guys would be Brendan Fraser and Pauly Shore (future Encino Manco-stars in 1991). Except thescript’s skinny teenagers became more cool when Winter, 21, and Reeves, 22, blew away all other hopefuls – when testing for each other’s role.  Also up for Bill S. Preston, Esq,were Sean Penn and River Phoenix.“We were playing these clowns, fools,” said Reeves, “but in an epic sense that they’re confronting tragedy with ebullience. They never say die…  It’s still funny.”

  2. Chris O’Donnell, Scent of a Woman, 1991. Most of the of the 1992 School Ties cast – indeed new, all the young turks – were in the pot for Charlie, the prep schooler babysitting a blind Al Pacino (finally winning his Oscar). Fraser, Ben Affleck, Randall Batinkoff, Matt Damon, Leonardo DiCaprio, Stephen Dorff, Cole Hauser, Anthony Rapp, Sam Rockwell and Christopher Serrone.

  3. Dermot Mulroney, My Best Friend’s Wedding, 1997.   “They were casting it at the same time as George of the Jungle …” Fraser went on the vines.
  4. Matthew Broderick, Inspector Gadget, 1999.   After being the idiotic George of the Jungle, 1997, Fraser was an obvious notion – until Broderick popped up on the radar.

  5. James Franco, James Dean, TV, 2001.    
    In the Jimmy mix with Brendan Fraser (!), Edward Furlong, Gary Oldman, Brad Pitt.. and Leonardo DiCaprip. “I did a screen test,”  he told Deadline’s Mike Fleming. “I think I was 18. It turned out pretty well. We saw clips of Giant, and then he put me in the back of the car with that cowboy hat. But I was a very young looking kid… He decided to wait a couple of years, but I… looked really young.”    “He” was director Michael Mann, who also spoke  with  Fleming. “It was a brilliant screenplay. And then it’s who the hell could play James Dean? And I found a chap who could But he was too young. It was Leo. We did a screentest that’s quite amazing He would turn his face in one direction and we see a vision of James Dean, and then he’d turn his face another direction and it’s no, that’s a young kid. With both guys talking to Fleming, the Hollywood Elsewhere blogger Jeffrey Welles broke a long silence…  about Mann  actually showing him the 1993 test.  “It was filmed footage on a VHS cassette.  Leo was wearing a red Rebel Without A Cause jacket and ’50s’Brylcream pompadour hair.The deal was that I couldn’t mention to anyone (not even my mother) that I’d seen it, and there could certainly be no filing of any kind.I agreed, of course, but I was so knocked out by how well DiCaprio had captured Dean’s expressions during his big scene with Jo Van Fleet in East of Eden I was so turned around that it broke my heart to have to sit on my impressions forever. But [now], it seems okay to mention my quick peek.” 

  6. Matthew McConaughey, The Wedding Planner, 2001.   All change! Due to being stuck in their Bedazzled and Buffy schedules, Fraser and Sarah Michelle Gellar churned into McConaughey and Jennifer Lopez – at $5m for him and $9m for her.
  7. Steve Coogan, Around The World In 80 Days, 2001.   Possibly the worst cast re-make in Hollywood history.
  8. Josh Hartnett, Wicker Park, 2003.    All set to be Matt Damon when Joel Schumacher was due to direct the Hollywood re-tread of the French L ’apartment, 1995.
  9. Ioan Gruffud, Fantastic Four, 2004.     George Clooney, Jeff Goldblum, Hugh Jackman, Dennis Quaid, Patrick Wilson were in the loop. And for some inexplicable reason, the decidedly non-fantastic Fraser was also considered for Dr Reed Richards (aka Mr. Fantastic). He was beaten to by an 007 contender. And, inexplicably, Fraser became one, too…
  10. Brandon Routh,  Superman Returns, 2005.

  11. Daniel Craig, Casino Royale, 2006. ,
  12. Dwayne Johnson, Journey 2: The Mysterious Island, 2010. Fraser left when the original director Eric Brevig quit the 3D sequel to Journey To The Center Of The Earth – which made a global $242m.
  13. Christian Slater, Freaky Deaky, 2011.   All four original stars – Fraser, Matt Dillon, William H Macy, Craig Robinson – suddenly quit and were replaced in the film of Elmore Leonard’s favourite novel by Slater, Billy Burke, Crispin Glover, Michael Ja White. 
  14. Daniel Craig, Cowboys and Aliens, 2011.   The great title (better than the movie) had been stuck in Development Hell since 1997 which explains why such superstars (!) as Fraser, Chuck Norris and Mr T (!) had been invited to saddle up as the outlaw hero Jake Lonergan. So were Jackie Chan, Robert Downey Jr, Bill Paxton, Kurt Russell and Bruce Willis. And Roger Rabbit, why not?
  15. James D’Arcy, Those Who Kill, TV, 2012.     Fraser pulled out of his TV series debut…Well, Chloe Sevigny was the main star as the cop opposite D’Arcy’s profiler.
  16. Sean Bean, Legends, TV, 2012.       Again, he avoided a series debut –  not the right fit, according to Fox TV.  The hero Martin Odum is a deep-cover operative, physically  transforming himself for each case. Perfect, therefore,  for the action star of Games of Thrones, Lords of the Rings and, once,  nearly James Bond. 
  17. Josh Hartnett, The Lovers (UK: Time Traveller), Australia-Belgium-India, 2013.  The nadir of UK director Roland Joffé’s career was put down by Slant Magazine’s Clayton Dillard as  “a shamelessly derivative and preposterous would-be blockbuster that goofily fashions itself as a sweeping romance, time-travel sci-fi tale, and gallant period piece all at once.” Could have been worse. Joffé first wanted Fraser as the dual-rôle hero. The 1778 one was actually called… James Stewart!
  18. Tom Cruise, The Mummy, 2016.  “Welcome to a new world of gods and monsters…”  After three new Mummies  with Brendan as Daddy (!), a third sequel was announced  in 2007 –  The Mummy 4 – Rise of the Aztecs – became the new hero, Nick Morton (ex-Tyler Colt) in one of his rare flops. So much so that Universal promptly scrapped its Dark Universe plans for Javier Bardem as Frankenstein’s monster, Russell Crowe as Dr Jekyll, on ice.








 Birth year: Death year: Other name: Casting Calls:  18